Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe > U.K. and Ireland
Reload this Page >

Some questions about rail cards

Some questions about rail cards

Old Jun 10, 11, 3:23 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Programs: BA EC Gold
Posts: 9,235
Some questions about rail cards

Hi folks - I'll start by making a confession: I know very little about rail-network travelcards (as opposed to Tube travelcards). As such I have a few basic questions and would be most grateful to get the advice of those more knowledgeable than I on these matters.

First, my situation: I work in Central London and am contemplating a move to a neighbourhood in zone 6 most easily accessible by Southwest Trains bound for Waterloo. I rarely travel for work, so am looking at a commute all but about six weeks per year. It seems that the best thing to do would be to buy an Annual travelcard. Here are my questions:

- I have had an Oystercard for many years. Is it possible to place this pass on my existing Oystercard?
- I have been looking at the prices of travelcards, and many have "London Terminals" as their end point. Which stations fall under this designation? To access my workplace I would also require a Tube ride from Waterloo. Do Annual travelcards from a set station to "London terminals" also include the ability to travel within the underground network, or does that require a supplemental charge? How do I find out how much this supplemental charge is?
- If one has this additional ability to add a zone-1 travelcard onto this, does this include journeys that do not start or end at my home station? Does this give the traveller free access to busses anywhere in the network?
- If one has an Annual travelcard, this also gets you a one-third discount on some off-peak journeys, right? How do I find out which ones?
- One of the other benefits of the Annual travelcard is that I can gift my other half a Network Rail discount card for 1, correct? Which benefits does one get from using this?

Now, my o/h's situation: My o/h will likely need to commute three or four days per week to a station also served by Southwest trains but further out in the network. We have looked into the monthly travelcard option but we aren't sure that he'll travel enough to make it worth it. We might do a pay-as-you-go option. If he travels off-peak, will he be able to use the Network Rail discount card to get cheaper travel? Is there any way that my annual travelcard can benefit him?

Many thanks to everyone for your help!
ajax is offline  
Old Jun 10, 11, 4:11 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: LON, ACK, BOS..... (Not necessarily in that order)
Programs: **Mucci Diamond Hairbrush** - compared to that nothing else matters (+BA Silver)
Posts: 13,185
Originally Posted by ajax View Post
Hi folks - I'll start by making a confession: I know very little about rail-network travelcards (as opposed to Tube travelcards). As such I have a few basic questions and would be most grateful to get the advice of those more knowledgeable than I on these matters.

First, my situation: I work in Central London and am contemplating a move to a neighbourhood in zone 6 most easily accessible by Southwest Trains bound for Waterloo. I rarely travel for work, so am looking at a commute all but about six weeks per year. It seems that the best thing to do would be to buy an Annual travelcard. Here are my questions:

- I have had an Oystercard for many years. Is it possible to place this pass on my existing Oystercard?
- I have been looking at the prices of travelcards, and many have "London Terminals" as their end point. Which stations fall under this designation? To access my workplace I would also require a Tube ride from Waterloo. Do Annual travelcards from a set station to "London terminals" also include the ability to travel within the underground network, or does that require a supplemental charge? How do I find out how much this supplemental charge is?
- If one has this additional ability to add a zone-1 travelcard onto this, does this include journeys that do not start or end at my home station? Does this give the traveller free access to busses anywhere in the network?
- If one has an Annual travelcard, this also gets you a one-third discount on some off-peak journeys, right? How do I find out which ones?
- One of the other benefits of the Annual travelcard is that I can gift my other half a Network Rail discount card for 1, correct? Which benefits does one get from using this?

Now, my o/h's situation: My o/h will likely need to commute three or four days per week to a station also served by Southwest trains but further out in the network. We have looked into the monthly travelcard option but we aren't sure that he'll travel enough to make it worth it. We might do a pay-as-you-go option. If he travels off-peak, will he be able to use the Network Rail discount card to get cheaper travel? Is there any way that my annual travelcard can benefit him?

Many thanks to everyone for your help!
So long as you have a zones 1-6 travelcard then you can use the underground in London as well as the trains. Yes you can load travelcards onto oyster cards. Yes with regards to your OH if you get a annual travelcard (also known as a Gold Card) then you can purchase a cheap Network Rail Card for them. full details can be found here: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_.../goldcard.html
Jimmie76 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 11, 2:54 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA bronze card, NHS Blood Donor silver card
Posts: 1,617
Originally Posted by ajax View Post
First, my situation: I work in Central London and am contemplating a move to a neighbourhood in zone 6 most easily accessible by Southwest Trains bound for Waterloo. I rarely travel for work, so am looking at a commute all but about six weeks per year. It seems that the best thing to do would be to buy an Annual travelcard.
From the Season Ticket calculator...
Picking a zone 6 station at random, Surbiton to London Terminals is 1,548.00. This is, afaik, only available as a paper ticket.
A zones 1-6 Travelcard is 2,016.00, and you can get this as a paper ticket, or on your Oyster card.

The former will get you unlimited travel on trains from your home station to a main train station in London by any reasonable route (and intermediate stations - eg Vauxhall to Clapham). You'll also get a Gold Card, which you can load on to your Oyster card for 1/3 off off-peak tube and rail journeys, and a lower off-peak cap.

The latter will simply give you unlimited travel all across London.


- I have had an Oystercard for many years. Is it possible to place this pass on my existing Oystercard?
Yes for the annual Travelcard, no for a point-to-point season.
- I have been looking at the prices of travelcards, and many have "London Terminals" as their end point. Which stations fall under this designation? To access my workplace I would also require a Tube ride from Waterloo. Do Annual travelcards from a set station to "London terminals" also include the ability to travel within the underground network, or does that require a supplemental charge? How do I find out how much this supplemental charge is?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_station_group shows the London Terminals. If your ticket is to London Terminals, you'd have to pay extra to get beyond that. A zone 1 peak single is 1.90.
- If one has this additional ability to add a zone-1 travelcard onto this, does this include journeys that do not start or end at my home station? Does this give the traveller free access to busses anywhere in the network?
I don't think it's possible to add just a 1 zone travelcard - you could buy this separately, but it's over a grand for a year!
- If one has an Annual travelcard, this also gets you a one-third discount on some off-peak journeys, right? How do I find out which ones?
Any annual season ticket or Travelcard in the south-east is known as a Gold Card, which gets you 1/3 off most off-peak travel on trains in the south-east. The discounts also apply to friends travelling with you. http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_.../goldcard.html lists the benefits.

- One of the other benefits of the Annual travelcard is that I can gift my other half a Network Rail discount card for 1, correct? Which benefits does one get from using this?
Again, 1/3 off off-peak travel, but with a 13 minimum fare on weekdays. http://www.railcard.co.uk/network has the details.

If your journey is going to involve both a train and a tube when you get to London, it sounds like your best bet is an annual z1-6 Travelcard on your Oyster card. (Unless you fancy a bit of a work-out in the morning, in which case you could consider the season ticket and a Brompton.)

Now, my o/h's situation: My o/h will likely need to commute three or four days per week to a station also served by Southwest trains but further out in the network. We have looked into the monthly travelcard option but we aren't sure that he'll travel enough to make it worth it. We might do a pay-as-you-go option. If he travels off-peak, will he be able to use the Network Rail discount card to get cheaper travel? Is there any way that my annual travelcard can benefit him?
It's unlikely that a Network Railcard would help, due to the 13 minimum fare.

If your partner is regularly going to be travelling off-peak, it might be worth doing the sums and looking at the price of the regular undiscounted fare v. the railcard discounted fare. The cheapest annual point-to-point season ticket in the south-east is 140. This will get you a Gold Card, and therefore the 1/3 discount off all off-peak fares, even if you never plan to travel between the stations it's for. Sometimes, it can work out as a rather expensive, but ultimately beneficial discount card. I've bought a Ryde Esplanade to Ryde St John's Road ticket this year and hope to make the most of it!
teflon is offline  
Old Jun 11, 11, 3:07 am
  #4  
Moderator: UK and Ireland & Europe, and Carbon Conscious Travel
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Biggleswade
Programs: SK*G, Lots of Blue Elsewhere
Posts: 13,546
One quick additional note about London Terminals - if you were planning on using it on the Thameslink Route through central London, then it's limited. From the south, you can only go as far as City Thameslink; from the north, St Pancras.

Of course, there's also a huge Borisbike rack at Waterloo!

As for your o/h heading out - SWT are trialling smartcards for journeys outside London, although on limited routes. This should soon be available for more routes - and have a bulk discount - so is worth looking out for. It won't be available immediately, though.
stut is offline  
Old Jun 14, 11, 10:38 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Redondo Beach, Ca
Posts: 23,583
We will be arriving in London by train from Paris on a tuesday evening & leaving for Heathrow on the following Sunday afternoon. Is there anything we can buy that covers tube travel (including to airport), buses and transport to Hampton Court all rolled into one? We would need it for 5 days. If such a thing exists, when & where is the best place to buy it? All these different cards are confusing me & my head is going to explode.
Thanks!
corky is offline  
Old Jun 14, 11, 10:58 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SUX
Programs: BA Silver; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; Points but dirt with everyone else
Posts: 8,050
Originally Posted by corky View Post
We will be arriving in London by train from Paris on a tuesday evening & leaving for Heathrow on the following Sunday afternoon. Is there anything we can buy that covers tube travel (including to airport), buses and transport to Hampton Court all rolled into one? We would need it for 5 days. If such a thing exists, when & where is the best place to buy it? All these different cards are confusing me & my head is going to explode.
Thanks!
Where will you be staying? Do you expect to venture out of Central London other than to get to LHR and to go to Hampton Court Palace? How many in your travel party? Do you expect you'll want to visit some of the places covered by the 2for1 offers?

Sorry for all the questions, but they will all make a difference in giving the best answer. A Zone 1-2 paper travelcard acquired in the St. Pancras mainline station when you arrive off Eurostar would get you around Central London but not cover the trips to Hampton Court Palace or LHR. A travelcard covering them would be much more expensive (50.40 vs. 27.60 for a seven-day, which is just a bit more than four one-day off-peak travelcards for Zones 1-2 but more than four one-day off-peak Zones 1-6 travelcards).
mtkeller is offline  
Old Jun 14, 11, 11:08 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Redondo Beach, Ca
Posts: 23,583
Thanks mtkeller,
We are staying at the Sheraton Park Lane and it is me (an adult) and a 16 yr.old. At this point I don't see any plans for traveling out of London except for Hampton Court and I was interested in some of the 2for1 deals such as tickets for Tower of London etc. When we factor in the transportation to airport & Hampton Court what do you think is our best option? And does everything also cover buses? I sometimes like to bus around the city. I am still confused with all this zone & off-peak stuff.
corky is offline  
Old Jun 14, 11, 11:45 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SUX
Programs: BA Silver; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; Points but dirt with everyone else
Posts: 8,050
Originally Posted by corky View Post
Thanks mtkeller,
We are staying at the Sheraton Park Lane and it is me (an adult) and a 16 yr.old. At this point I don't see any plans for traveling out of London except for Hampton Court and I was interested in some of the 2for1 deals such as tickets for Tower of London etc. When we factor in the transportation to airport & Hampton Court what do you think is our best option? And does everything also cover buses? I sometimes like to bus around the city. I am still confused with all this zone & off-peak stuff.
Zones aren't that complicated once you take a gander at a tube map. (Zone 1 is the central white region, zone 2 is the gray region surrounding it, etc.) Most tourist attractions are in Zone 1. (I'm sure someone will come along and name something that's in Zone 2 shortly.) Hampton Court Palace and LHR are in Zone 6.

A travelcard covers all buses (regardless of zone, so you could take a bus into zone 3 on a zones 1-2 travelcard) and underground service in the zone(s) for which it's valid. It will also cover National Rail services within the zone scheme. (Thus, even though Hampton Court Palace is not covered by London Underground, you can get a train there from Waterloo using a Zones 1-6 travelcard.)

Off-peak for travelcards basically comes down to after 0930 (and any time at the weekends).

All that explained, I'm not sure what to recommend, but some of the real Brits (I'm an American whose been here since September) should be along later today to give some good advice. If you were staying near a station with National Rail ticket services, I'd probably recommend going with one-day travelcards, since you could get a Z1-6 for the day you go to Hampton Court and use the 2for1 there and Z1-2 for the other days. (Depending on what you're doing before going to LHR, a cash single may be cheapest that day if you're not getting a seven-day travelcard. If you're bipping around a bit before leaving, the Z1-6 off-peak would be best that day.)
mtkeller is offline  
Old Jun 14, 11, 11:59 am
  #9  
Moderator: UK and Ireland & Europe, and Carbon Conscious Travel
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Biggleswade
Programs: SK*G, Lots of Blue Elsewhere
Posts: 13,546
Originally Posted by mtkeller View Post
(I'm sure someone will come along and name something that's in Zone 2 shortly.)
Always happy to oblige

Portobello Road and Notting Hill, Westfield London, Little Venice, Battersea Park, Canary Wharf and the Museum in Docklands, Hampstead Heath and Clapham Common, Greenwich, the Museum of Childhood, the Horniman Museum (a must for all your overstuffed walrus needs), Camden Lock, excellent music venues such as the Hackney & Shepherds Bush Empires, Brixton Academy and Hammersmith Apollo...

Now, zone 3...
stut is offline  
Old Jun 14, 11, 3:51 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SUX
Programs: BA Silver; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; Points but dirt with everyone else
Posts: 8,050
Originally Posted by stut View Post
Always happy to oblige

Portobello Road and Notting Hill, Westfield London, Little Venice, Battersea Park, Canary Wharf and the Museum in Docklands, Hampstead Heath and Clapham Common, Greenwich, the Museum of Childhood, the Horniman Museum (a must for all your overstuffed walrus needs), Camden Lock, excellent music venues such as the Hackney & Shepherds Bush Empires, Brixton Academy and Hammersmith Apollo...

Now, zone 3...
Thanks, stut. I guess since I walk through Clapham Common every day, I forget it can be an attraction. (This weekend it definitely was, with some big music festival going on.) Of course, you've answered the least important part of what corky wants help with .
mtkeller is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 3:43 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: London
Programs: BA bronze card, NHS Blood Donor silver card
Posts: 1,617
Originally Posted by stut View Post
Always happy to oblige

Portobello Road and Notting Hill, Westfield London, Little Venice, Battersea Park, Canary Wharf and the Museum in Docklands, Hampstead Heath and Clapham Common, Greenwich, the Museum of Childhood, the Horniman Museum (a must for all your overstuffed walrus needs), Camden Lock, excellent music venues such as the Hackney & Shepherds Bush Empires, Brixton Academy and Hammersmith Apollo...

Now, zone 3...
I think you'll find the Horniman is firmly in Zone 3.
But so's Crystal Palace (for the anatomically incorrect dinosaurs), Wimbledon, Kew Gardens, Alexandra Palace and the Parkland Walk, Queen's Wood, the Olympic Park and the Greenway, and I was going to count Greenwich, but I see you've got that already
teflon is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 5:56 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: London
Posts: 1,117
Originally Posted by teflon View Post
I think you'll find the Horniman is firmly in Zone 3.
But so's Crystal Palace (for the anatomically incorrect dinosaurs), Wimbledon, Kew Gardens, Alexandra Palace and the Parkland Walk, Queen's Wood, the Olympic Park and the Greenway, and I was going to count Greenwich, but I see you've got that already
Except Greenwich is in zone 2 - well, to be precise, both Greenwich station (DLR and mainline rail) and Cutty Sark DLR station actually sit on the zonal boundary and are thus in both zones 2 and 3, so for example a zones 1&2 Travelcard would cover you to either station. (Though a good way of approaching Greenwich is from Blackheath, which is itself in zone 3.)

As this is FT, I'll mention the obscure runway which sits in the middle of some docks that they call City Airport (LCY) is also in zone 3. I won't start adding more places to the zone 3 list, such as the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, or the Barnes Wetland Centre...
Mizter T is offline  
Old Jun 30, 11, 4:03 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Redondo Beach, Ca
Posts: 23,583
We are leaving in 2 days and I am still (if not more) confused. Assuming we want to stay in Zone 1 except for the trip to Hampton Court and LHR and we need transportation for Wed. thru 1/2 of Sunday (5:15 pm flight) I still am not sure of our best option. I don't know if we will be traveling peak vs. off-peak but best to have the options open.
And where does one buy these various cards? And WTH is an Oyster card & should I be looking at that? My head is on the verge of exploding--c'mon Brits--help a Yankee girl out here. Just tell me what to buy & I won't question it.
Bonus question: on the 2for 1 deals, can you just show your ticket & get it? It looks like you have to do it online before you go & we want to keep the schedule loose depending on weather so don't know if that is doable.
Thank you!!!
corky is offline  
Old Jun 30, 11, 4:23 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SUX
Programs: BA Silver; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; Points but dirt with everyone else
Posts: 8,050
Originally Posted by corky View Post
We are leaving in 2 days and I am still (if not more) confused. Assuming we want to stay in Zone 1 except for the trip to Hampton Court and LHR and we need transportation for Wed. thru 1/2 of Sunday (5:15 pm flight) I still am not sure of our best option. I don't know if we will be traveling peak vs. off-peak but best to have the options open.
And where does one buy these various cards? And WTH is an Oyster card & should I be looking at that? My head is on the verge of exploding--c'mon Brits--help a Yankee girl out here. Just tell me what to buy & I won't question it.
Bonus question: on the 2for 1 deals, can you just show your ticket & get it? It looks like you have to do it online before you go & we want to keep the schedule loose depending on weather so don't know if that is doable.
Thank you!!!
Hopefully someone chimes in with real info on the right travelcards. I can say that for the 2for1, you don't need to do it online. Go to a mainline station and pick up a 2for1 booklet or three. (I've found them at Waterloo in the main concourse, and I think they're at Victoria, too.) They'll list all the attractions doing 2for1 and include vouchers you fill out by hand on the day you're visiting the attraction. Needing to show train tickets is hit or miss. Iirc, Tower of London asked for them but London Eye didn't.
mtkeller is offline  
Old Jun 30, 11, 4:38 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Silver, IHG Plat AMB, Hertz Pres. Circle, Avis Presidents Club
Posts: 594
Originally Posted by corky View Post
We are leaving in 2 days and I am still (if not more) confused. Assuming we want to stay in Zone 1 except for the trip to Hampton Court and LHR and we need transportation for Wed. thru 1/2 of Sunday (5:15 pm flight) I still am not sure of our best option. I don't know if we will be traveling peak vs. off-peak but best to have the options open.
And where does one buy these various cards? And WTH is an Oyster card & should I be looking at that? My head is on the verge of exploding--c'mon Brits--help a Yankee girl out here. Just tell me what to buy & I won't question it.
Bonus question: on the 2for 1 deals, can you just show your ticket & get it? It looks like you have to do it online before you go & we want to keep the schedule loose depending on weather so don't know if that is doable.
Thank you!!!
Please note: these are definitely not the cheapest options, but are some of the easiest options for an about-to-explode head to deal with I have been where you are... this will cost more, but is relatively painless.

When you get off the Eurostar train at (I believe?) St. Pancras, go to a ticket window and tell the attendant you want to buy two Travelcards - one adult, one student (I thought students traveled free or at great discount, but I'm not one, and I don't live there, so just see what the attendant says about the student ticket and do whatever they recommend).

Ask for a Seven (7) Day Travelcard for zones 1-6. I don't believe they sell 4 or 5 day cards, so this will be your best option. This will automatically cover all times of day, so no need to worry about Peak and Off Peak and all that...
This Travelcard covers buses, tube, Docklands Light Railway, in zones 1-6. This is overkill for most of your stay, but will get you to LHR and Hampton Court Palace without any issues. You won't have to buy another ticket just for those trips. As I said earlier, this is not the cheapest route...but it will help you avoid a headache.

Since you are buying it at a train station, it should have the Rail insignia printed on it. This is the type of ticket that is required if you want to use the 2-1 deals.

Before you leave home - print the vouchers for the 2-1 deals/attractions that you would like to go to. You do NOT have to choose a particular day. Your travelcard (with the rail insignia on it), together with these vouchers, will get you in to the chosen location at any time during the validity of your travelcard. You may have to choose a start date for the voucher (not sure of that) but you don't have to decide in advance what day you are going go to the attraction/site.

If the other FT'ers would PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong on any of this....I'm sure the actual Brits on this site - I am not one, although I wouldn't be against it... - will tell you where I've led you astray. This is, IMHO, the "money isn't that big an object and I just want to get this over with" option.

HAVE FUN!
lindaiah is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: